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How C. Caramanico & Sons prepared for 2023

February 1, 2023 -  By
Training on technical and soft skills is a huge focus for C. Caramanico & Sons in 2023. (Photo: LM Staff)

Training on technical and soft skills is a huge focus for C. Caramanico & Sons in 2023. (Photo: LM Staff)

Thanks to a rebound in demand for services with its commercial customers, C. Caramanico & Sons in Upland, Pa., netted a 52-percent increase in revenue from 2020 to 2021. But that increase wasn’t without its challenges as the company grew by only 5 percent in 2022.

John Caramanico Jr., president, says many of the company’s commercial landscape maintenance, enhancements, construction and snow removal clients delayed projects at the start of the pandemic. He says it’s been an interesting past three years.

“It just feels like we’re riding a rollercoaster more than talking about a business,” he says. “In 2019, the economy was strong. We had a very successful year and then 2020 hit in our commercial market. Customers wanted to be conservative with their spending.”

This meant delaying projects. Customers also canceled projects, too.

“From a maintenance perspective, customers spent on necessities,” he says. “They wanted to keep curb appeal, but if they didn’t need to, they were conservative with their dollars.”

He says this all changed in the second year of the pandemic. Commercial clients wanted to start on shelved projects and spent more money on maintenance and enhancements.

“Everybody in the commercial world is trying to set themselves apart, ” he says. 

New challenges

Caramanico says as interest in commercial maintenance increased, his operation faced new challenges in 2022 in the form of inflation, higher fuel costs and supply chain disruptions. 

“It’s definitely not like it used to be,” he says. “We’re having to pass along probably some of the biggest increases in company history to our customers to be able to provide for our team members, (and) give them a fair wage.”

The conversation about raising prices with clients was difficult at times, he says. The Caramanico team took the full transparency approach, providing documents that show the increase in inputs.

“Telling a story of, ‘Hey, you’re feeling this at home, we’re feeling this in the business. This is what your renewal for landscape maintenance looks like; this is why that enhancement is costing that much,’” he says. 

It takes a team

Caramanico says how his team executed the 2021 season is a big part of the operation’s overall growth and success. He says building a strong culture where employees are family starts with “The Caramanico Way,” a list of 31 fundamentals for the fourth-generation business. 

“This culture has always been a fabric of our business that’s been passed down to us through the generations,” he says. “My brother (Bill, secretary and treasurer for the company) and I took the time to write them out and focus on delivering them to our team weekly, and it’s paid dividends for us.”

Each week the operation focuses on one of the 31 fundamentals, Caramanico says. Managers share how “The Caramanico Way” translates to interactions with clients and teammates.

Looking to 2023

Caramanico says his executive team prepared a conservative budget for 2023. He expects a dip in the demand for services this year. 

“We are thinking that the sugar rush that all our clients have been on is going to slow down,” he says. “For the last two years we’ve been order takers. The customer has known what they wanted.”

But Caramanico and his team plan to focus more on sales and customer relationships this year, a nod to No. 2 of “The Caramanico Way” is “deliver legendary service.” 

“We’re preparing with training and discussions and sales meetings about how we’re going to deliver legendary service, deliver legendary solutions to our clients that keep revenue coming in the door to keep our team busy,” he says.

As of early 2023, the company renewed 75 percent of its maintenance contracts, which is 10 points higher than 2022.

The team at C. Caramanico & Sons also developed 10 to 15 goals around revenue, profitability and relationships this year. Plus, they are ramping up training. 

“We are scheduling four full-day rodeos for training for our crew members,” he says. “We will train on the technical skills, proper pruning and proper maintenance of the machines and proper operation of the machines. We’ll also do developmental training.”

The developmental training includes conflict resolution, problem-solving and how to be a good team member, skills Caramanico hopes they’ll put to use at work and in their personal lives.

The company put a big focus on employee retention in the last 10 years, and Caramanico sees this training as an opportunity to highlight how the green industry can be a career, not just a job.

“And I think if we focus on our teams, our business revenue and new clients will find us,” he says. 

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Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University. She can be reached at

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